News, Press Releases

Select Committee Scrutiny of the Budget for Official Development Assistance

Posted on 21 June 2024

Foreign Minister Winston Peters, MFAT Chief Executive Rob Taylor, and other diplomatic officials appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade on June 20th as part of Scrutiny Week.

Scrutiny Week is a new process under Parliament’s revised Standing Orders, designed to improve government accountability by allowing opposition MPs to publicly question Ministers and their officials. This biennial process’s inaugural session coincided with the first sitting week of Parliament following the May Budget announcements.

Independent economic analysis has projected a potential 35% fall in New Zealand aid spending over the coming triennium. Members of the Select Committee scrutinised New Zealand’s ongoing international climate finance obligations, which are due to expire next year. The Council for International Development (CID) attended the session and was pleased with the thorough scrutiny of Official Development Assistance (ODA), with questions from Hon. Phil Twyford, Hon. David Parker, Dana Kirkpatrick MP, and Teanau Tuiono MP on partnerships, illegal fishing, and climate change.

In response to Parker’s challenge of “putting money where our mouth is” regarding foreign policy, Minister Peters stated that future ODA spending will focus on multilateral institutions. Additionally, government officials reiterated to Teanau Tuiono MP that 10% of overseas aid is devoted to ongoing humanitarian crises, such as the crisis in Gaza.

Minister Peters defended MFAT’s performance and the budget allocation in Vote Foreign Affairs for 2024-2025, with MFAT officials highlighting the Manaaki scholarship program and collaboration with Australia on international development. He argued that further ODA spending cannot be justified during a domestic recession. In response to the aid and development cuts, 87% of New Zealand-based development sector staff surveyed by CID believe New Zealand’s ODA contribution should be increased.

CID’s view is that an urgent increase in ODA is required to tackle global challenges and fulfil our development and humanitarian aid obligations. Talking to Newsroom, Rebekah Armstrong from World Vision put it simply, stating “ODA is honestly an investment into the world that we all want to live in.” More analysis and advocacy from CID on ODA cuts can be found here.


ODA Budget Select Committee